Greetings all, there have been some important legislative updates since last I reported.

Post Tenure Review Amendment

SB 7044: Postsecondary Education. This bill came out of committee and was recently introduced in the legislature, there is also a House version [HB 7051: Postsecondary Education]. This bill requires colleges and universities to keep a public record for 5 years of books assigned and any other instructional material for each class. Additionally it requires public colleges and universities to seek accreditation from a different accreditation agency every five years.

Yesterday afternoon Senator Manny Diaz, Jr. of Miami-Dade County introduced an amendment to the bill that would give power to the Board of Governors to institute a Post Tenure Review system. The language of the amendment is below:

(b) The Board of Governors may adopt a regulation requiring each tenured state university faculty member to undergo a comprehensive post-tenure review every 5 years. The board may include other considerations in the regulation, but the regulation must address:

  1. Accomplishments and productivity;
    1.2. Assigned duties in research, teaching, and service;
    3. Performance metrics, evaluations, and ratings; and
    4. Recognition and compensation considerations, as well as improvement plans and consequences for underperformance.

    I do not know yet where this amendment is in the process as it was only introduced Thursday afternoon. The amendment was temporarily postponed and will be brought up again today sometime. Both the House and Senate versions of this bill have been through a second reading in both chambers, a third reading would move the legislation to a vote by the full body. At the moment only the Senate version is considering this post tenure review amendment.

I will keep you updated on this legislation.

SB 520: Public Records and Public Meetings-this bill which will exempt college and university presidential searches from public records laws was passed in the Senate on February 10. The House version (HB 703: Pub. Rec. and Meetings/Postsecondary Education Executive Search) is on its third reading and is expected to receive a full vote in the chamber shortly.

HB 1197: Employee Organizations Representing Public Employees-This is the draft bill from last year that failed to pass which would require public employee unions to have over 50% membership for certification but it would exclude police and fire departments. It is moving into a third reading in the House. The Senate version (SB 1458: Employee Organizations) is still in various committees.

HB 7: Individual Freedom & SB 148: Individual Freedom These companion bills would prohibit “subjecting individuals to specified concepts under certain circumstances constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin; revises provisions relating to required instruction; prohibits instructional materials reviewers from recommending instructional materials that contain any matter that contradicts certain principles; requires DOE to review school district professional development systems for compliance with certain provisions of law.” The House passed this version of the bill and is moving through committees in the Senate.

HB 1557: Parental Rights in Education passed the House which would prohibit classroom discussions about “sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; requires school districts to notify parents of healthcare services.” The Senate version of this bill SB 1834: Parental Rights in Education is moving through committees and will probably be voted on by the full Senate shortly. These bills apply only to public school districts, not colleges and universities.

New Podcast Episode

We’ve released a new Podcast episode, “Episode 11 Welcome to the UniverCity or Have Universities Become the New Factories?” I spoke with Professor Davarian L. Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut. He recently published the book In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities with Bold Type Books. We spoke about the impact of how local universities expand into downtown centers and how universities have transformed into what he has termed a UniverCity.

Robert Cassanello
UFF-UCF, President